As per the data published in the journal named "The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse", veterans who are enrolled in a state-authorized medical cannabis access program frequently substitute medical cannabis for prescription drugs, alcohol, and other controlled substances.
The study was carried out by a group of investigators participating from three different universities, i.e. the Palo Alto University, California; the Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia; and the Harvard University. The investigators surveyed marijuana use patterns in 93 military veterans who were part of the state-authorized medical cannabis access program.
Here is what the investigators were able to report; nearly 80% of the subjects that participated in the study reported that they consume cannabis "to treat mental health symptoms as well as physical health symptoms; nearly 69% of the subjects reported consuming it therapeutically to mitigate symptoms of chronic pain; nearly 66% of the subjects who participated in the study reported using it for anxiety relief; 59% for post-traumatic stress; and 56% for depression.
In addition to this, the investigators were also able to report that an overwhelming majority (more than 60%) of the respondents reported consuming medical cannabis as a substitute for other prohibited or licit substances, in particular, alcohol. More importantly, nearly 50% of the respondents reported consuming medical cannabis as a substitute for prescription medications.
Here is what the authors of the study were able to conclude:
"The current study also confirms the findings of previous studies that have documented a trend in substitution behavior, where cannabis is substituted for other drugs, which, if associated with reduced harm, could be beneficial for overall health."